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Highlights of Japan

$ 4,195.00

Experience the many faces of Japan, from dazzling streets in Tokyo to antique teahouses in Kyoto. Speed through the countryside on the bullet train and stay in a traditional inn near Mount Fuji. Delight in an exclusive Maiko performance and dinner and walk the absorbing streets of Takayama. Discover the thriving geisha culture and take a touching trip to Hiroshima. Leave with a heartfelt understanding of this mysterious land.

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Product Description

DAY 1 MONDAY ARRIVE TOKYO
Upon arrival at Hanita or Narita Airport a join-in transfer takes you to your hotel. Tonight meet your fellow travellers and Western Tour Leader for a tour briefing (if locally led this will happen on day 2). This is a great chance to get to know your fellow traveller and talk about the adventure that awaits you. Please look out for your welcome pack with the details included.

ACCOMMODATION 2 nights
AKASAKA EXCEL HOTEL – Standard room

DAY 2 TUESDAY EXPLORE TOKYO ON FOOT, BOAT AND RAIL(B)
Following breakfast embark on your exploration of the city. With a teeming population of eight million, the capital of Japan invigorates the senses. Founded in 1603 as an Edo-era military centre, Tokyo has since lived a myriad of lives. Earthquakes, world wars and raging fires have at various times over the past 150 years razed Japan’s main city to the ground, while in the past half-century this current seat of royal power has emerged as a trading super-city and a headquarters for one of the world’s largest economies.

On the back of foreign investment, the huge success of automotive and precision electronics industries and national industriousness, Tokyo presents as a truly pulsating metropolis – brimming with street-life activity and neon lights galore, yet also home to an underworld of drinking dens and atmospheric restaurants. Today you will explore some of the city’s highlights on a carefully created tour.

Discover ‘Tsukiji,’ the largest fish market in the world. Nothing in the world is quite like Tsukiji fish market. This is the embodiment of organised chaos: Miniature trucks race to and from laden with all manner of products from boxes of prawns to huge tuna; chefs from across the city make their way from stall to stall, inspecting the goods and choosing the best for that day’s menu. Yet amidst the madness one thing becomes abundantly clear: Everyone has their role and knows
their job backwards.

Walk to Hama Rikyu Garden, dating to 1654 and once the private respite of the Tokugawa Shogun. After a stroll through this tranquil garden, board your boat (shared service) for a cruise on Tokyo’s Sumida River. This short trip will take you past the headquarters of some of Japan’s most famous companies and will end near bustling Asakusa Temple, the oldest and most beloved temple in Tokyo. Here, be introduced to the influences of Buddhism and Shintoism on Japanese culture.

DAY 3 WEDNESDAY TOKYO TOWER AND HAKONE (B/D)
Important information: Luggage courier services are widely used in Japan to transfer your main luggage to your next destination when using Japan Rail services. Please read your pre-departure guide for more information. Today we will transfer your luggage to your Takayama hotel, taking an overnight bag for your one night stay in Hakone.

Take in mesmerizing skyscraper views from Tokyo Tower. The designer, Tachu Naito, based his design on the Eiffel Tower and came up with a design that was withstood serious earthquakes as well as typhoons. It might be fifty years old, but the views, day or night, are amazing. And as it is located in central Tokyo, you experience great views of most of the important spots in the city. And best of all, on a fine day you will easily be able to see Mount Fuji to the southwest.

Continue on to the Edo-Tokyo Museum. The museum’s permanent exhibition vividly illustrates the past of Tokyo (known as Edo until 1869) through its exhibits and covers many features of the capital from the Edo Period to relatively recent decades. In the afternoon, travel by train to Hakone. Hakone has been a popular resting post since the Japanese warrior Toyotomi Hideyoshi ordered a natural bath to be built here in 1590 enabling his battle-weary men to relax in the natural hot spring waters of this volcanic area. Set in the mountainous countryside just to the South of Mt. Fuji, Hakone offers a curious mix of different attractions. Onsen houses proliferate throughout the region providing plenty of opportunity for relaxing in the revitalizing natural hot spring waters. The region is crisscrossed by a collection of ropeways, cable-cars and funicular railways which link the many small communities.

On clear days the ropeways provide spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and of course, away in the distance the imperious Mt. Fuji – one of the world’s most famous mountains, the most recognizable symbol of Japan there is.

After checking into your traditional Japanese hotel, change into your yukata and slippers and savor a sumptuous Japanese dinner. Tonight you will enjoy the onsite Japanese onsen and sleep in an atmospheric tatami floored room, on a futon mattress.

HAKONE YUMOTO HOTEL – Japanese-style room

DAY 4 THURSDAY HAKONE TO TAKAYAMA (B)
Today you will enjoy a cable-car ride and boat trip on peaceful Lake Ashi-no, and weather permitting behold the majestic views of Japan’s most loved and famous geographic landmark, Mount Fuji. Afterwards travel by train to timeless Takayama, using aco mbination of bullet train and limited express train. Situated more than 2000 feet above sea lea level and surrounded by the brooding peaks of the Japan Alps, Takayama is a bustling market town. It was once the home of Japan’s most skilled carpenters
and artisans, and the well-preserved streets and wooden houses on the banks of the Miyagawa River pay vivid testament to this fact. The buildings now house a multitude of craft shops and specialist food stores where you’ll find numerous sake breweries (open for tastings) and museums covering all manner of things from mechanical dolls to the history of the Lion dance. Upon arrival in Takayama check into your hotel.

ACCOMMODATION 2 nights
BEST WESTERN HOTEL TAKAYAMA – Run of house room
6-6 Hanasatomachi
Takayama 506-0026
Tel: +81 577 372 000

DAY 5 FRIDAY TAKAYAMA(B)
Important information: Luggage courier services are widely used in Japan to transfer your main luggage to your next destination when using Japan Rail services. Please read your pre-departure guide for more information. Today we will transfer your luggage to your Kyoto hotel, using an overnight bag tonight.

This morning set out on a walking tour of some of Takayama’s main attractions. As an introduction, visit the Festival Floats Exhibition Hall, home to colourful floats which come out bi-annually during two of Japan’s most famous festivals. You will also visit Takayama Jinya, formerly a government building and home to some wonderful insights into Japan’s past. Stroll past some beautifully preserved wooden houses on Kami Sannomachi Street and a venture past some enticing sake rice wine breweries, as well as a visit to the Takayama History and Art Museum. There are 14 exhibition rooms that have individual themes including Takayama Festival, traditional houses, the city’s history, local writers’ literature and arts.

This afternoon is free to wander the streets and explore. The Teramachi district to the south east of the town centre is home to some more conventional temples and shrines and makes for a lovely afternoon stroll – the pine tree lined paths are quite well marked in English. This evening, continue your Takayama exploration, meet the friendly inhabitants and explore the local eating options.

BEST WESTERN HOTEL TAKAYAMA – Run of house room

DAY 6 SATURDAY TAKAYAMA AT LEISURE THEN TO KYOTO (B)
Enjoy free time this morning in Takayama to shop and further explore, before boarding the train for Kyoto. The spiritual and cultural capital of Japan, Kyoto is the setting of more than 1,600 temples and shrines, a headquarters for geisha courtesans, and the home of royal cuisine. This enigmatic city is the birthplace of some of Japan’s most beautiful sites and alluring traditions: tea ceremonies, ‘shodo’ calligraphy, peaceful rock gardens, and an array of artistic and intellectual pursuits. The beauty of Kyoto is undeniably manifest in the temples and bamboo forests of Higashiyama, the shrine-dotted slopes of Arashiyama and in the gorgeous Ponto-Cho and Gion geisha districts. Upon arrival in Japan’s most beguiling city, travel short distance to your hotel.

DAY 7 SUNDAY KYOTO(B)
Your discoveries of Kyoto will take in a sampling of the city’s treasures, beginning with visits to Nijo Castle and the glittering Golden Temple, Kinkaku-ji. Nijo Castle was built in 1603 as a residence for the first Tokugawa shogun and is famous for squeaky wooden floors designed to betray the approach of unwelcome visitors. The Golden Temple, Kinkakuji, is one of Japan’s most cherished sites. This elegant, gilded structure was built in the 14th century as a retirement villa. Later today you will also visit World Heritage-listed Kiyomizudera temple, nestled into the forest-clad side of Higashiyama Hill, and the quaint Sannen Zaka and Ninnen Zaka streets. In the afternoon you will walkthe famous Gion geisha district, setting for the movie ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ and wander down the gorgeous Ponto-cho Lane. Return to your hotel at the end of the afternoon.

DAY 8 MONDAY HIROSHIMA (B)
This morning you will travel by bullet train to Hiroshima, infamously targeted in the world’s first atomic bomb attack. After a journey of just over two hours you will arrive in this sea-side city. You will begin with a short train trip to the edge of the Seto Sea. Here, board a ferry for the ten-minute passage to Miyajima Island. This tranquil island is home to Itsukushima Shrine, partly comprised of an offshore red ‘torii’ gate – one of Japan’s most famous and photographed sites. In ancient times access
to holy Miyajima Island was through this ‘floating’ gate; you will arrive more conventionally, gliding into the ferry terminal.

Take some free time to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of this pretty island, mingle with the wild deer, and sample some Japanese snack food. Return to central Hiroshima and visit the Peace Memorial Museum, dedicated to the events of 1945 and the aim of a war-free world. A visit to this exceptional museum is a sobering, yet educational experience. You will also see the famous Peace Memorial Park and a poignant cenotaph inscribed with all the known victims of the Hiroshima bomb, and the eerie A-Bomb Dome, a tragic city-symbol, left standing in a ruinous state after more than 60 years. By the end of the day
return to Kyoto.

DAY 9 TUESDAY FREE DAY AND GEISHA DINNER (B/D)
Today is free to enjoy at your leisure. Whether you’re a fan of Japanese gardens, traditional architecture, temples, shrines, hiking, old shops, modern Japan, cycling or some combination of all of these, your tour leader and local guide can help you put together a self-exploration itinerary to satisfy every interest.

Enjoy a group dinner, a chance to farewell new friends and indulge in a very special dining experience. Kaiseki is a type of art form that balances the taste, texture, appearance, and colours of food. To this end, only fresh seasonal ingredients are used and are prepared in ways that aim to enhance their flavour. Finished dishes are carefully presented on plates that are chosen to enhance both the appearance and the seasonal theme of the meal. Dishes are beautifully arranged and garnished, often with real leaves and flowers, as well as edible garnishes designed to resemble natural plants and animals.

During your meal a Maiko/Geisha will come to your private room to perform traditional arts and to
talk with you. A geisha with her elaborate kimono and ghost white make-up, is one of the most enduring images of Japan. This is a fantastic opportunity to experience a highly exclusive service that is usually only available through a personal introduction.

Note that this is the best way to really experience the world of Kyoto’s geisha. Interact with the geisha and pose for pictures with them, all while enjoying a fantastic traditional meal in refined surroundings. After enjoying dinner and the performance the evening is yours to enjoy at your leisure.

MITSUI GARDEN KYOTO SHIJO – Run of house

DAY 10 WEDNESDAY END OF JOURNEY (B)
It’s time to say goodbye, but just think of all the wonderful stories you will take home. A taxi transfer will take you to Kyoto Train Station where you will use your railpass for your onward travel.



DEPARTURE & PRICING OF 2017
$5362
Land only per person based on sharing

  • 3/20/2017, 3/27/2017, 04/10/2017, 4/17/2017
    TWIN/DOUBLE SHARING $5765 | SINGLE $6223
  • 5/8/2017
    TWIN/DOUBLE SHARING $5490 | SINGLE $6070
  • 6/5/2017
    TWIN/DOUBLE SHARING $5362 | SINGLE $5942
  • 9/11/2017 | 10/9/2017 | 11/6/2017
    TWIN/DOUBLE SHARING $5652 | SINGLE $6232
  • 12/26/2017
    TWIN/DOUBLE SHARING $6522 | SINGLE $7247

DEPARTURE & PRICING OF 2018
$5362
Land only per person based on sharing

  • 1/22/2018 | 3/19/2018 | 3/26/2018 | 4/2/2018 | 4/9/2018
    TWIN/DOUBLE SHARING $5765 | SINGLE $6223
  • 5/7/2018
    TWIN/DOUBLE SHARING $5490 | SINGLE $6070
  • 6/4/2018
    TWIN/DOUBLE SHARING $5362 | SINGLE $5942
  • 8/27/2018 | 9/10/2018 | 10/1/2018 | 10/15/2018 | 11/12/2018
    TWIN/DOUBLE SHARING $5652 | SINGLE $6232
  • 12/31/2018
    TWIN/DOUBLE SHARING $6522 | SINGLE $7247

Additional Information

OVERVIEW

Experience the many faces of Japan, from dazzling streets in Tokyo to antique teahouses in Kyoto. Speed through the countryside on the bullet train and stay in a traditional inn near Mount Fuji. Delight in an exclusive Maiko performance and dinner and walk the absorbing streets of Takayama. Discover the thriving geisha culture and take a touching trip to Hiroshima. Leave with a heartfelt understanding of this mysterious land.

DEPARTURE

Selected group departure dates.

HOTELS

As indicated in the itinerary

INCLUSIONS

8 nights hotel accommodation
1 night Ryokan accommodation
breakfast daily
1 lunch and 2 dinners
day trains
transport in air-conditioned vehicles
small group touring
entrance fees
luggage transport
Western tour leader based on a minimum of 7 travelers
local English-speaking guides
return transfers (conditions apply).

EXCLUSIONS

 International flights – Call 1-888-887-1688 to get a quote from your home city
Insurance you may wish (which we urge you to purchase)
 Personal expenses and gratuities.
 Any other item not specified

QUESTIONS

Should you have any further questions, please call 1888-887-1688 for assistance or chat online with us.

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